Eastern Cape commemorates the 7 billion milestone
UNFPA Officer in Charge Dr Benjamin Alli gave a key note address during the Eastern Cape commemoration of the 7 billion campaign which was held in Bhisho Hospital on the 10th November 2011. In his speech he highlighted the birth of the 7 billionth baby as an opportunity, a challenge and a call for action. It is an opportunity because of global connectedness, a challenge because of emerging challenges like climate change, gender based violence and poverty, it is a call for action because of the shared responsibility globally. He further stressed the need to ensure that gender equality is attained as the goal by ensuring that both boy and girl child have the same opportunities and that empowering them with education enables them to make informed reproductive choices.
He acknowledged the Eastern Cape Provincial Government for ensuring that pregnant women that live in deep rural areas come and wait in the Maternity Homes as a means of reducing maternal deaths. Over 90% of women giving birth in the Province are manned by skilled birth attendants, and further measures are taken towards the promotion and use of comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health services, including re-positioning and promotion of Family Planning.
This was followed by a maternity visit and presentation of vouchers to nine new mothers whose babies also form the 7 billion mark. Among the mothers there was a grandmother Nomvuselelo who received the voucher on behalf of her granddaughter because the biological mother had passed on post delivery. This baby will live in rural areas with her grandparents who depend on the government grant. As she grows she will need access to education, including sexuality education, and access to comprehensive health services.
UNFPA works in partnership with the Provincial government to accelerate progress on the ICPD agenda, promote sexual reproductive health & rights and reduce maternal mortality.